The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Experienced Cougar hoops team ready to roll after football season


December 5, 2018

Jaryd Cline

Cougar senior Kurtis Billette takes a jumper during last year's game at Goldendale High School.

For many other teams, it would have taken a while for everybody to get on the same page after more than half of the players on a team weren't at practice for a week. But for the veteran Lyle-Wishram Cougars basketball team, the team seemingly hasn't skipped a beat after a handful of players were on the gridiron, not the hardwood, for the opening week of winter sports practice.

"We have a ton of experience," head coach Josh Padgett said. "It's been nice. We would have been behind but we're ready to go."

Over half of the Cougar varsity team was absent from the opening week of hoops practice after the Lyle-Wishram football team reached the Class 1B state football quarterfinals, but after the team fell to Naselle in the quarterfinals on Nov. 17, the group returned to practice the next week and fit right in.

This year, the Cougs will return the majority of last year's varsity team, led by a big and talented senior class.

The senior class, led by Andrew Carlock, DaSean and Jarren Leslie, Kurtis Billette, Riley Mills, and Gerry Kindrick, and the rest of the Cougs opened the season with a 65-57 loss to a tough and aggressive Stevenson team.

The Cougs came out hot though in the opener, scoring the game's first 10 points and later leading 15-2. Mills came out strong and hit a couple of 3-pointers, but things slowed down in the second for the Cougs.

Stevenson outscored them 20-6 over the second quarter and the teams played about even over the second half for the eight point Stevenson win. Mills scored 16 and Billette 17, but Padgett was impressed with how the Cougs dealt with an always though Stevenson press defense.

"I thought it was a good first game," Padgett said. "I think we played them pretty well."

After that game, the Cougs will be on the road for a pair of games, including their Eastern Washington Athletic Conference opener against Kittitas on Friday. The Coyotes won last year's Class 2B state title, and should contend again this season. After Friday's game, Lyle-Wishram will travel to Soap Lake.

The Cougs return to playing an EWAC schedule this year after playing a Columbia Gorge schedule last year. They will matchup with teams like White Swan, Mabton, and DeSales among others.

Along with a big senior class, Padgett also is excited about the next wave of Cougars.

"We have a good, young freshman group and the seniors are trying to get them going," Padgett said.


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